What Causes Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. It is the most common cancer among women worldwide and the second leading cause of death. More than 250,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Women with early stage breast cancer may not experience any noticeable symptoms. However, as the cancer progresses, the following symptoms are common:

  • Breast discomfort
  • Inverted nipple
  • Change in the shape, size or texture of the nipple or breast
  • Red or swollen lymph nodes
  • Lump in the breast
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple

Note: If you experience any of these symptoms, the experienced physicians at Alpha Med Physicians Group recommend you see a medical professional immediately.

Common breast cancer risk factors

While no one knows the exact cause of breast cancer, doctors do know it is typically caused by damage to a cell’s DNA. Here is a list of risk factors that may increase your risk for developing breast cancer:

Unavoidable risk factors

  • Gender – Breast cancer is 100 times more likely in women.
  • Age – More than 65% of women with invasive breast cancer are over the age of 55.
  • Race – Caucasian women have the highest lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Family history ­– If you have a primary family member who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed.
  • Menstrual and reproductive history – If you started menstruating before age 12, started menopause after age 55 or had your first child at an older age, you have a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Genetic factors – If you carry certain gene mutations such as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, you are at an increased risk for breast cancer.

Avoidable risk factors

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Maintaining an unhealthy weight
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages in excess
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy medications (for menopause)

If you or a loved one needs skilled breast cancer treatment, trust the specially trained oncologists at Alpha Med Physicians Group. Call 708-342-1900 to schedule an appointment.